Paris Plage — Beach Vacation on the Seine

paris plage 2013Parisians wear bathing suits, children play in sandboxes, and adults read steamy novels while relaxing on lawn chairs on a sandy beach.  No, this is not in Normandy, but on the Seine just across from the Île-de-la-Cité.  Paris Plage brings the beach to Paris on the Seine River, making a great venue to relax and let the children play on a “beach” just a skip away from the Louvre and Notre Dame.  From July 19-August 17, the beaches of the Seine in Paris are the place to be. Read More »

Paris Summer Sale (Soldes)

IMGP2007.JPGParis only has two sanctioned sales during the year — in January just after the Christmas break and in July just before the August holiday.  This year’s summer shopping sale season begins on June 25, and ends on July 29.  Unlike sales in the U.S., stores are open mostly during normal hours, except have extended days open on a few Sundays.  While it seems impossible, French law only allows sales during this time period, otherwise stores must get permission from the police to hold discounted sales outside this time period.  The theory behind this is that this protects the small mom and pop shops from heavy discounting by the major giants, like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, but, in reality, this is a way to preserve price protection and state sanctioned price parity among retailers. Read More »

Fête de la Musique (June 21)

fetedelamusique2014For one night only, Paris is a true party town late until the morning with Fête de la Musique, which is a singular free music festival celebrating the beginning of summer.  As a glitter of light from late dusk remains until nearly 11:00 p.m., this event, in which normally restrained Parisians party loudly until the early morning, is a great way to experience different musicians in a variety of venues throughout the city.  Celebrating its 33d year, all events are free, and it is not unusual to see musicians just set up and play in a plaza, park or even in an apartment building, playing throughout the night.  Jazz, rock, contemporary, traditional French music — all genres are fair game for this extraordinary night.  Expect to find musicians throughout all of the arrondissements of the city, but if you are searching for specific spots, go to Champs de Mars, Les Invalides, Avenue Champs Elysees, Chatelet, Bastille, Parc Monceau, Le Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and Sacré Coeur.

Roland Garros 2014 — Top Places to Visit

Roland Garros.jpegThe French Open begins its 123d year at Roland Garros in Paris on Sunday, May 25, with the Men’s Championship Match held on June 8.  What is not so well known is that nearby is the haute Village d’Auteuil, in the 16th arrondissement, which offers an array of great restaurants, bistros, brasseries and fashion shops for those in need of new clothes or shoes. Read More »

Printemps à Paris (Spring in Paris)

Trees are sprouting leaves, flowers are in bloom, sparrows sing wake-up melodies at dawn, and morning rain cleans the narrow cobble stone streets. It is spring in Paris. With spring sun giving a shimmer of warmth and sunlight from the dull, grey days of winter, people are donning sunglasses, hitting the cafés, and sitting outside on the terraces to take it all in. Children (and adults) tend to skip, not walk, and smile a little more as the sun now pierces through the clouds beating down on them. The jardins are now a venue for a pique-nique lunch, or afternoon snack. Read More »

Easter In Paris

Pâques (Easter and Passover) in Paris is all about chocolate, easter eggs, and fun activities for children.  Windows of chocolate shops are lined with ornate chocolate eggs, some the size of American footballs, for sale (and eating) during the holiday.  Themes for this year are traditional, with ornate chocolates made in the shapes of hens, rabbits and birds nests.  Top chocolate shops, including Maison du Chocolate, Lenôtre , Pierre Herme, A La Mere de Famille, Jean Paul Hevin, Hediard, ServantDebauve & Gallais, all have different creations, with ornate eggs, chocolate bears, chocolate chickens and other hand-crafted chocolate pieces that are available only during Easter. Read More »